Sprint to raise cash mortgaging part of its wireless spectrum
The company also announced program where it will give away free mobile devices and free high-speed wireless internet connectivity to 1 million low-income high school students
The press release below is worded in such a way that only a lawyer might be able to figure out what is going on, so let me simplify it a bit. Sprint wants to raise money, so it is basically mortgaging around 14 percent of its wireless airwaves. It figures to raise $3.5 billion by doing so – the spectrum portfolio itself is worth around $16.4 billion, according to reports.
Sprint needs to raise the money because it is trying to wrestle away customers through competitive pricing. This tactic appears to be their main way to raise cash, having done a similar offer twice last year.
Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure also announced yesterday that it would begin a new program called The 1Million Project whereby Sprint gives away free mobile devices and free high-speed wireless internet connectivity to 1 million low-income high school students in the US.
“Education is the foundation for our society to prosper, and the internet is an incredibly powerful tool for learning,” Claure said. “But it’s a huge problem in America that we have 5 million households with children that lack internet connections. Those kids have a huge disadvantage and we are failing them. All of us at Sprint are committed to changing this by providing 1 million students in need with free devices and free wireless connections.”
Here is Sprint’s announcement today:
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. – October 12, 2016 — Sprint Corporation announced today that three wholly owned special purpose subsidiaries have commenced an offer of up to $3.5 billion of wireless spectrum-backed notes in three series with varying maturities in a private transaction that is exempt from the registration requirements of the Securities Act of 1933.
The Issuers’ directly owned subsidiaries will acquire a portfolio of FCC licenses and a small number of third-party leased license agreements (the “Spectrum Portfolio”) from subsidiaries of Sprint, which comprise a portion of Sprint’s 2.5GHz and 1.9GHz spectrum holdings, representing approximately 14 percent of Sprint’s total spectrum holdings on a MHz-pops basis.
The Spectrum Portfolio is currently utilized by approximately 77 percent of all of Sprint’s 2.5GHz enabled sites and approximately 33 percent of Sprint’s 1.9GHz enabled sites. The Spectrum Portfolio will be leased back to Sprint Communications Inc. pursuant to a long-term lease agreement, the rental payments for which are sufficient to service the Notes. Based on an independent third-party valuation, the central value of the Spectrum Portfolio as of June 30, 2017, based on the various assumptions and limitations set forth in the valuation report, is approximately $16.4 billion.
The Notes are being issued pursuant to a $7 billion program established for this structure, consisting of the initial issuance and potentially future issuances, subject to certain conditions. The Notes are expected to be rated investment grade by both Moody’s and Fitch.
The consummation of the Notes offering is subject to market and other conditions and is anticipated to close in early November 2016. There can be no assurance the Notes offering will be successfully completed on the terms described herein or at all.
The Notes have not been registered under the Securities Act or the securities laws of any other jurisdiction and may not be offered or sold in the United States absent registration or an applicable exemption therefrom. The Notes will be offered only to Qualified Institutional Buyers as defined in Rule 144A under the Securities Act that are also Qualified Purchasers as defined under the Investment Company Act of 1940 and to persons outside the United States that are not U.S. Persons as defined in Regulation S under the Securities Act and are also Qualified Purchasers.
This press release does not constitute an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy the Notes and shall not constitute an offer, solicitation or sale of any Notes in any jurisdiction in which such offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful.